Thursday, April 27, 2017

Recap of the Supreme Court Argument in Maslenjak v. United States


Amy Howe on SCOTUSBlog recaps the argument of Maslenjak v. United States in the Supreme Court.  She encapsulates the argument in her introduction:

"[T]he justices were not especially sympathetic to the plight of Divna Maslenjak. The 53-year-old came to the United States as a refugee in 2000, fleeing ethnic strife in the former Yugoslavia. Maslenjak became a U.S. citizen seven years later, but last fall she was deported to Serbia. U.S. immigration officials stripped her of her citizenship after she admitted that she had lied about her husband’s service in the Bosnian Serb military, but the justices seem likely to give her another shot at keeping it. Although they may not have been fans of Maslenjak personally, though, the justices were even less enthusiastic about the prospect of ruling for the government, expressing concern that such a ruling would give U.S. officials boundless discretion to take away citizenship based on even very minor lies." (emphasis added).

Adam Liptak offers a similar analysis of the Justices' reaction to the U./S. government's position.

Here is the transcript to the argument.  Both sides were peppered with questions.  Chief Justice Roberts seemed especially concerned with the U.S. government's position that the U.S. government might seek denaturalization of a citizen for virtually any misstatement on a naturalization petition (even one pertaining to speeding).  The petitions ask extremely broad questions, including things like "have you EVER committed any crime for which you were NOT arrested?"  His hypothetical to the U.S. government was whether the U.S. government could seek denaturalization for failure to disclose a speeding violation, which the naturalization petition would seem to call for even if the immigrant had not been cited or arrested for the offense.  Justice Sotomayor wondered whether a failure to disclose embarrassing nicknames might result in the same; the petition asks for other names used by the immigrant seeking naturalization.

Stay tuned.  We should have a decision by the end of June.


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I am not a lawyer, just a SCOTUS junky, but I was astonished listening to the oral arguments of this case at the scope of the question on the naturalization form. I have no idea if the 5th amendment provision regarding self-incrimination would apply here, but it seems the question is asking people to either lie or admit to having committed a crime for which they might never have been arrested. That seems beyond bizarre. The Chief's incredulity was well founded.

Posted by: Eric Welch | Apr 29, 2017 4:58:06 AM

Here is a quote. " As Amy Howe writes at SCOTUSblog, “ruling for the government” in this case “would give U.S. officials boundless discretion to take away citizenship based on even very minor lies.”

Actually this is absurd in itself. The question before the court is NOT about a speeding violation. The question is about lying in material information.
She lied saying her husband was being sought for prosecution for failing to appear when inducted into the military. Instead her husband was in the military and possibly could have been tried as a war criminal. They were trying to escape prosecution as war criminal.

I have NO idea what cold possibly me more pertinent. The arguments in my opinion fail upon their own premise....this is not a mundane question at all. The court can easily escape all other questions in their ruling as the question is about material lies NOT mundane lies.

Why is the LEFT so adamant about trying to destroy this country and its sovereignty?

Posted by: DJ3 | May 9, 2017 7:30:02 AM

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